PhD Oral Exam - Mahmood Mastani Joybari, Building, Civil, & Environmental Engineering
When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
In recent decades, latent heat storage in phase change materials (PCMs) received considerable attention. This is due to their high latent heat capacity, which is essentially required for managing and overcoming the temporal mismatch between energy supply and demand. Thus, at the time of energy availability at supply side, it is stored in PCMs so as to be extracted later on when it is needed. In order to provide continuous operation, there might be times when a thermal storage needs to be simultaneously charged and discharged. Most studies focused either on charging, discharging, or consecutive charging and discharging process, while limited work has been conducted for the case of simultaneous charging and discharging (SCD). The first objective of this dissertation is to develop a numerical model to analyze the heat transfer mechanism within a PCM under SCD. Since the possible heat transfer mechanisms within PCMs are conduction, convection or a combination of both, two models are used to identify the mechanism under SCD; i.e. the pure conduction (PC) model and combined conduction and natural convection (CCNC) model. The PC model is a hypothetical model, which neglects the natural convection during phase change process; however, the CCNC model is the real case one. Validation of the model results by comparison with experimental data shows an acceptable agreement both under melting and solidification. Therefore, the developed model can be used to numerically study the phase change process in PCMs.
Natural convection is the result of density changes, which create buoyancy forces within melted PCM and plays a significant role during melting. Currently, the most widely used method to account for natural convection is the effective thermal conductivity method. The method considers an artificial increase in thermal conductivity values to take into consideration the effect of natural convection by comparing the results with experimental data. Two major shortcomings of this method are that first, it is tedious to obtain the proper value and second, the method does not provide information about the melting front location. In this dissertation, a novel simplified front tracking method is presented to replace the thermal conductivity method. The novel method is based on considering two separate melting fronts for the upper and lower halves of a horizontal thermal storage system. Therefore, two dimensionless correlations are developed to map the results of the simple PC model to that of the complicated CCNC model based on the presented logic. The method essentially creates a link between CCNC and PC models, which is also missing in the literature. Based on verification, the correlations can provide results within ±15% discrepancy.